Pictures courtesy of Jen Campisi
A typical Wednesday night for some students marked a significant event for others: the end of an era. Between 25 and 30 seniors took their final bows in the neon lights at the conclusion of the Dance Club’s spring semester performance. The Field House was transformed into the semi-annual stage for “Please Don’t Stop the Music” on April 12.
The largest club on campus boasted a sold-out show and prepared to showcase their talents in front of a packed house filled with fellow students, faculty, family, and friends.
Before Drastic Measures sang the National Anthem, the current officers passed the torches to the new officers that will be taking over their positions in the following year.
The club bid farewell to three of its four officers due to the impending graduation, including seniors Giovanni Pinto, president, Kimber-Leigh Burkhart, vice president, and Justin Robinson, treasurer. It was announced that junior Megan Krisowaty, the current secretary, will fill Pinto’s shoes as the 2017-2018 club president.
All four current officers choreographed and performed solos, including Pinto, who dedicated his piece to his mother.
“It was meant to be a tribute piece to her because as a senior in my final semester at university, this was really my last chance to thank her for setting me up for pure success, and being as supportive as she is to me,” he said.
The four officers also performed their final piece together to the electronic-dance song “It Ain’t Me” by Selena Gomez and Kygo.
Sam Verity, a sophomore, choreographed a hip hop creation that consisted of various rap songs, with dancers styled in denim. Junior Jaclyn Lyons choreographed a “blast from the past” 80s routine with dancers dressed in flashy colors, windbreakers, and leg warmers.
One of the most memorable pieces of the night took the audience by surprise. Choreographed by junior Megan Krisowaty and senior Christina Canaletich, the intricate and disturbing hip hop dance featured the sounds of sirens and spotlights flashing the color of police lights while a trap remix of “The Purge” by Break Beats sounded throughout the Field House. Meanwhile, dancers wearing masks to correspond to the horror film “The Purge” executed unique synchronized movements.
On a different note, some pieces were more meaningful, rather than comical.
Soon-to-be graduating senior Sam DeSousa has been a part of the club since her freshman year, but her choreography for a contemporary piece to “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten held particular meaning to her.
After her 16-year-old cousin was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive type of stage four cancer in October, DeSousa was inspired to choreograph the piece dedicated to the “exhausting and heartbreaking fight” her family has endured.
“In January, I knew I would audition to choreograph and use ‘Fight Song’ to emphasize the unfortunate fight many people face against this horrible disease that does not yet have a cure,” DeSousa said.
A transparent “Fight for Maggie” sign was displayed simultaneously during the dance, symbolizing the personal tribute.
A creatively clever combination of both strong and delicate movements throughout the contemporary piece reflected both the strength and vulnerability of those who are battling cancer.
At the beginning and end of the song, a voiceover by DeSousa’s younger sister played to make the dance more powerful and personal. Each dancer showed their own personal connection to the song and picked a different color ribbon to represent awareness for different types of cancer. The emotional piece struck tears from many audience members.
“All of my dancers worked very hard to put this piece together,” DeSousa said. “‘Fight Song’ gave us all hope and a way to express our struggles.”
While their senior year may be coming to a close, and their time at the university has almost run out, the seniors involved in this semester’s dance club showcase showed wide smiles and teary eyes after performing together one last time.
The Roger Williams University Class of 2017 dancers dressed in different shades of blue, representing various clubs and organizations as they combined hip hop, jazz, and contemporary styles in their routine to “Call On Me [Ryan Riback Remix]” by Starley, which was choreographed by Pinto and Burkhart. The dance showed solidarity and an overall fun and energetic environment among the lively, carefree group.
“What I will remember most about Dance Club post-grad is the show week insanity,” Pinto said. “Being an officer for the past three years has opened my eyes to a crazy but fun three days leading up to the show.”
To close the show, the entire cast came together as a part of “Group Dance” to perform an iconic High School Musical-inspired number, complete with basketball jerseys and red and white costumes. Growing up in the “Efron era,” as one female dancer humorously called it, the students recalled their childhood obsessions from the 2006 Disney Channel Original Movie that became pop culture and remains so almost a decade later.
“The most rewarding part [of Dance Club] was getting to know and help so many people,” Pinto said. “Dance Club has about 380 people each semester, and I get to know most people. I love meeting everyone and feeling like I can help them feel as though they belong in some way.”